Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2nd Best Cookies Ever

While we were in New York we had cookies from Levain Bakery.  It was the most delicious cookie I have ever put in my mouth and I knew I would have to try and mimic that deliciousness once I was home.  Since last Thursday I have been off the paleo diet and had already decided to give myself one full week  before hopping back on the caveman plan.  Well that week is up after today so I decided what better send off than knock off Levain cookies.

I spent a couple of hours searching the internet for knock off recipes and then read all the comments on each to see what had and had not worked.  I took what I guessed was the best of each recipe including several people's trial and error suggestions and mixed it up last night.  You have to portion the dough and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, so we had no cookies until tonight.  Oh my, was it ever worth the wait.

Almost Levain Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks cold butter cut in chunks
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
3/4 teaspoon salt (use plain old salt from the blue box)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips (use the best you can afford preferably Guittard)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Put the sugars in a mixing bowl.  Using the beaters of a hand mixer or paddle of a stand mixer combine the sugars well.  Add the butter and beat slowly at first increasing the speed as the butter and sugar incorporates.  You want a light fluffy butter/sugar mix.  Turn the speed down and beat in the eggs, one at a time until they are well blended.
In a small bowl add the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir with a fork to combine well.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and start the mixer on a very slow speed. Increase it only after the flour mix is all incorporated and only beat long enough to have a smooth dough with no flour visible.
With a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts to evenly incorporate them throughout the dough.
Roll the dough into balls that are about 4 ounces each. (I actually weighed the first one to see what 4 ounces of cookie dough looked like and then I eyeballed the rest) You should get 12-13 dough balls out of this recipe. I cut strips of parchment paper and wrapped it around each ball before putting them in a ziploc bag then into the refrigerator.  They stayed there for about 13 hours before I baked them.

My oven is pretty true to temp and I have a baked goods convection setting.  I set it for a standard 350 degree setting to preheat.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (important) and place the cold dough on it. (I could only bake 5 cookies* at a time on my largest cookie sheet) Bake for about 17 minutes, remove from the parchment and place on a rack to cool until warm enough to eat without burning your mouth on the melted chocolate. (5 or so minutes)  The cookies are crispy on the outside and ooey gooey chocolate deliciousness on the inside.  I suggest a large glass of milk or cup of hot coffee on the side.  One cookie is more than enough for any human, except for TheHub who not only ate 2 of them, but then argued with me when I told him he had just eaten at least 8 ounces of cookie dough. ( How would I even know that, all I did was bake them, right?)

For an honest comparison I would have to have one of the original cookies to do a taste/texture test. Since I don't have access to one I am having to rely on my memory of that cookie and to be honest these are pretty darn close.  I used Nestle's chocolate chips and there was a difference in the taste and texture of the chocolate.  I don't know if they use Guittard or not but those are the best chocolate chips I have ever used and I think they would be much better.  The texture of the cookie itself was pretty much spot on. It had a nice crisp outer coating and a very tender gooey cookie interior.

I can see making these regularly, because it is the only time I have ever eaten just one cookie (OK so the cookie is only slightly smaller than a standard hamburger bun, I still count it as eating just 1!)

If you feel like indulging try this.  You just might like love it.  Next up__Levain Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies!  Unfortunately there will not be another non-paleo week until sometime in mid to late June. Singing like Carley Simon


  1. you are bad posting that and I am bad reading it all by 7am, as now I want one!!!

    1. Yes I had a hard time not baking one of the ones in the fridge for breakfast!

  2. When the cookies cooled totally (like the next day) did they still remain soft on the inside?

    1. I only cooked 5 of them and only 1 actually lasted to the total cool off stage. I didn't eat it or even see it eaten so I can't tell you from first hand experience, but the eater who will remain nameless assured me it was still soft but not warm and gooey.

    2. I'm very torn. I really want to make these, but I really don't need them.

    3. I really didn't need them either, but they were delicious!

  3. I need to go on a diet, we have over indulged too much while hubby was down with his shoulder injury but man, your cookies look good! I made some copycat black and white cookies awhile back that we really enjoyed.
    I just might mix up these thiese weekend and start the diet Monday πŸ˜„

    1. I have been doing the paleo diet for quite a while and these are absolutely not part of that plan. I decided while I was in travel eat anything mode to make them, but now I think I am in go to the lake for the weekend mode and might make some to bake there?

  4. Oh dear. I really, really didn't need to read this. My pants are getting tighter in anticipation.

    1. Sometimes things are just worth the indulgence. These are one of those things!

  5. to answer your questions, I think it takes a tad more than following a blog to be able to least it did with me.

    And no, 6,000 square feet is no cottage to me's more like a mansion!!!

    Have a super weekend.

  6. This might seem like a nit-picky question, but I am always afraid of over- or under-salting my baked goods. Did you use salted or unsalted butter? I sometimes have either one on hand, and I can adjust the salt accordingly, but it would help me to know which one you used in this recipe.
    Thanks! Can't wait to try it. AFTER I am done taking off a few pounds... so it might be a few weeks (I can dream, and wait, though.)

  7. These are most likely less salty than the original recipe was. I used salted butter because I am traditionally an under salter. I always cut the salt from a recipe way down. The recipe is how I made it, but if you prefer to use unsalted butter add about 2 good pinches or 1/8 additional teaspoon of salt. They were definitely not over salted and no one here said anything about the lack of saltiness. These cookies disappeared right before my eyes! They really were that delicious.

    1. Thanks! I used to under-salt everything (some cookbooks think it's in fashion to list zero salt in every recipe) but I realized my baked goods were suffering. Now I try to add just enough, but of course not too much. I can't wait to try these (there are always enough people to eat them all if I turn my head the other way, but I admit to being one of the most serious c.c. cookie consumers in the house.)


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